The word ‘disease’ comes with a cart full of baggage. Everyone has a slightly different association paired with the word: death, suffering, preventability… When breaking down the word one is simply faced with ‘dis-ease’: the body is not at ease, it is in a state of dis-ease. On a cellular level, it is not a sleek exotic car flying down a perfectly paved autobahn, it is an old clunker sputtering along followed by a cloud of smoke, hitting every pothole in its path. Inflammation causes the body to strain and have to work harder. Inflammation is the potholes in the road and the carbon buildup in the carburetor. Inflammation is the root of all disease.
And I do mean all disease.
Sounds like something one would want to keep to a minimum, no? How to do so? I thought you’d never ask. Reducing the things in our body that are causing inflammation is a great place to start:
The Nightshade Family: as the name suggests, these vegetables bloom at night and are pro-inflammatory. The Solanaceae family includes tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant, peppers & tobacco as well as many other non-edibles.
Gluten: found in wheat, barley, rye and other grains, this protein is becoming problematic for many people within our population. From breakfast cereal & sandwich bread to communion wafers & soy sauce, gluten is everywhere in our diets without our even realizing it.
Dairy: no other species on our planet drinks the milk of another. Nor do they consume milk beyond their infancy. We just don’t need it beyond those formative years. In fact, only about 40% of adults maintain their ability to digest lactose into adulthood. When the body struggles to digest something that it doesn’t have the enzymes to break down, you guessed it: inflammation. Dairy is mucus forming, and the factory farming methods where most milk comes from are pretty atrocious too.
Sugar: this means the sugar in your coffee & pastries, alcohol and even fruit in excess. The average diet in our country today includes way too much sugar (which also provides insights into the diabetes & obesity epidemics). It is damaging & dangerous… and addictive.
Stress: plays a huge factor in inflammation as well. Everyone’s different, and it just takes finding something to handle your stress (in addition to reducing it as much as possible of course). Spending time outdoors, yoga, a relaxing bath with candles, curling up with a book… the list is endless. Some people need to run or work out to literally burn off their steam & some need a creative outlet such as painting or spending some time playing guitar: find what works for you. Truly. You’re only cheating yourself otherwise. Be open to trying new things without any preconceived ideas about them. Here are 10 more ideas.
Okay so we’ve covered some pretty big things to avoid in the body, what about a pro-active approach? After all…
“An ounce of prevention is worth an pound of cure.” -Ben Franklin.
Antioxidants: vitamins A, C & E help combat the free radicals that can lead to inflammation. Free radicals are unavoidable, it’s when they start to get out of control that inflammation becomes problematic. The easiest way to increase these in your diet is by upping your fruit & veggie intake!
Adequate Sleep: Without enough downtime every night, they body doesn’t get a chance to regenerate & heal itself. If you’re trying to cram a late night (workout/online shopping session/house cleaning)in past your bedtime it’ll be to the detriment of your overall health. Aim for a solid 8 hours of good quality sleep and definitely investigate possible causes of interruptions in sleep patterns.
Keep Moving: sweat every day. Keep the blood pumping but…
Stay Hydrated: Lubricate your cells with at least two liters of water every day. More sweating usually equals more water consumption, so if you’re applying the previous point be sure to follow it up with this one.
Disease runs rampant in an acidic, stressed and thus inflamed organism. Prevent, prevent, prevent. Making it a lifestyle can be difficult at first, but if you’re motivated it will soon enough become habit and your “new normal”. Your future self thanks you.